Page touches lives with artistic strokes

Published 11:12 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mary Page began having rather “weird” thoughts.

She couldn’t get them out of her head.

“All I could think about was that I needed to find a way to help people,” she said. “I knew that I didn’t have the money to help people that way. I just knew that I had this strong desire to do something for others.”

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That was more than eight years ago. Today, Page is in the place where God has put her. It’s not a place where she would have imagined herself but it’s the place where she needs and wants to be.

“God hears your thoughts,” she said. “He has put me in a place where I can be of help to others and I’m so thankful that He gave me a talent and the desire to pass on what I have learned to others.”

Page teachers the painting classes at the Colley Senior Complex in Troy. But, her first association with the senior center was as an exhibitor.

“Someone had seen my paintings and told Mary Ann Casey, who was the Center director at that time,” Page said. “She called and invited me to do a show. After that, I was asked to teach painting part time and later that worked into fulltime.”

Page laughingly said she has not painted all of her life.

“Just the last 24 years,” she said. “When I was a kid, I liked to draw but it wasn’t until 1984 that I got seriously interested in painting. I was at an auction and saw several paintings. It struck me that painting was something I wanted to do. So, I bought the supplies and started painting.”

Page took four painting classes but almost everything that she knows about painting and drawing she learned from trial and error.

“My husband, Harry, was driving a truck so I had plenty of time to experiment,” she said. “I’d try this and I’d try that until I found something that worked.”

Page’s first paintings were of still-lifes, landscapes and flowers. Within three months of her first full-fledged attempt, Page had sold her first painting.

Before long, she had “developed” into an aircraft artist.

Her daughter was working at an area airport and Page was asked by the pilots to paint their airplanes.

“I would paint a resemblance of the pilots in the cockpit,” Page said. “I painted many, many planes and pilots.”

For 16 years, Page painted commissioned pieces and pieces to sell and some to keep.

She changed mediums from oil to acrylics and found that she liked working with acrylics much better.

As much as Page enjoyed painting “commercially,” she felt she needed something more in her life.

“God moved me to a place near a church and, when I found God, He led me to where I am today,” she said. “God has given me the ability to draw and to paint. He has given me the desire to use my talent to help others and He has provided the way and the place.”

The place is the Colley Senior Complex and, through Page’s painting classes, many seniors have either found a new interest in life or renewed a dormant interest.

“It’s good to see so many people get so much satisfaction from painting,” Page said. “Through art they get a lot of self-satisfaction and gain self-worth and self-confidence. It makes them feel better to do something that they didn’t know they could do. And, many of them make gifts of their paintings. They are proud to give them and their family members and friends are glad to receive them.”

The contributions that Page has made to those who frequent the Colley Senior Complex have not gone unnoticed nor unappreciated.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11, the Colley Senior Complex Art Guild will host a reception in honor of Page and to open the Mary Page Art Exhibition at Studio 713 (Colley Complex annex). The exhibition will include the work of many of Page’s students as well as the work of local artists.